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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -
The man convicted of poisoning the famed oak trees at Auburn's Toomer's Corner may soon know how much money he'll have to pay in restitution.
A hearing is being conducted in Elmore County to decide the amount Harvey Updyke will have to pay to Auburn University for the act that killed the trees.
Auburn University is asking for more than $1 million, but Updyke's attorneys say that amount is too much. They declined to do any interviews.
The University spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process of trying to save the trees, as well as remove the herbicide Spike80DF from the ground as it spread to other vegetation.
Auburn University says it spent a total of $675,208.95 to save the trees and other associated projects. After Updyke's plea, Lee County District Attorney Robbie Treese said whatever the amount is that's lodged against him, it will be doubled under the Alabama Farm Animal, Crop and Research Facilities Protection Act. That means the University is seeking a total of $1,350,417.90 from Updyke.
Wednesday, Treese said the court would consider Updyke's ability to pay the amount, "but as far as the future is concerned, who knows? He just may want to try to write a book, he could win the lottery...and if that were to happen, certainly any victim in any case is entitled to be compensated for the damages as a result of the criminal act," Treese adds.
A decision won't be made on the monetary amount for at least 15 days.
Updyke was not in the courtroom for the hearing, nor was he required to be. He remains out of jail on supervised probation after serving 76 days in jail.
Updyke took a plea deal in March 2013 and agreed to plead guilty to Criminal Damage of an Agriculture Facility, a Class C felony, for poisoning the iconic trees with a herbicide following the Auburn Tigers football team's Iron Bowl win in 2010.
The die-hard Alabama fan called a popular radio talk show under the alias "Al from Dadeville" months after the act to boast of what he'd done. He's since been virtually blacklisted by the University of Alabama and his plea deal requires he not attend any collegiate athletic event and to not enter any property owned by Auburn University.
Auburn fans had long included the trees, which marked the entrance to the University from downtown, in their victory celebrations by rolling the them with toilet paper after an athletic win. The trees have since been removed and replaced temporarily with wires that will allow for celebrations while the University continues work on restoring the corner.